It gives me great happiness to extend my heart-felt greetings to members of the Indian community in Romania, and to the friendly people of Romania on the eve of the auspicious occasion of India’s 68th Republic Day on 26 January 2017. Our grateful thanks go to Her Excellency Mrs. Monica Gheorghita, the new Secretary of State for Global affairs for consenting to be the Guest of Honour at our celebrations.
I am pleased to recall that India and Romania have had centuries-old relations, and not just in modern times. We cherish this. Many Romanian philosophers and athletes are admired in India. India’s Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore visited Romania and interacted with Romanian intellectuals, and was inspired by Romanian National Poet Professor Mihai Eminescu. We are happy to celebrate more than 65 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries. I wish to congratulate and compliment the Government and people of Romania on the smooth conduct of parliamentary elections in the country recently.
India and Romania have enjoyed close and cordial political relations, and there are no issues that divide us. Mrs. Krishna Raj, the State Minister for Women and Child Development of India, recently visited Romania during 11-17 November 2017, and was received with great warmth by the Romanian government. There is also a robust mutual participation of academicians and scholars from think-tanks in seminars and conferences. Romania was represented in the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi during 17-19 January 2017. I am happy with the current level of defence and security-related cooperation.
We have a Hindi Professor from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations at the Bucharest University. We are also working closely with the Cluj Institute for International Studies which has a special focus on India. Over a 100 Indian students are currently studying in various Universities across Romania.
I take this opportunity to pledge our support to expand our bilateral relations in all spheres, with greater focus on people to people and commercial contacts for the benefit and growth of our two nations. In the 21st century, we face a number of challenges. I am happy to note that our two countries work together on many of the global threats in international forums.
In terms of economic and commercial cooperation, bilateral trade has been growing consistently, and we have had a bilateral trade of US $ 600 million last year. We hope to achieve a significant increase in this figure in the very near future. Indian companies are also looking at Romania to further branch out into other parts of Europe. We participated at the Romanian Tourism Fair at the Rom Expo in November 2016, and our India Tourism offices are working with several government and private organizations to boost the tourism potential in both countries.
I will also like to emphasise here the intensifying cooperation in the area of culture. It was with great pleasure that I met scores of Indologists and young students learning Hindi in Romania. We will continue to encourage them. While we have lined up quite a few events in Romania that will further strengthen the people-to-people contacts between Romania and India, I wish to name a few events that are planned over the next few months. These include release of a book, ‘Natyashastra’, a book on Indian dance in less than three weeks time on 18 February, organise an Indian garments presentation (Saree Show) for our friends here to acquaint themselves with Indian textile designs and weaves, and I hope to organise the visit of Indian folk and classical dance and troupes.
I look forward to our Mission’s and Romanian public’ participation in a big way at the ‘Namaste India’ Festival to be organised in Bucharest during 16-18 June at the Village Museum and in other venues in Romania. Last year this flagship cultural event attracted tens of thousands of Romanian and other India-lovers. As was the case last year, we will also organise the International Day of Yoga (IDY) celebrations in June 2017 given the increasing appeal and popularity of yoga, and will partner with the Isha Yoga Foundation and other agencies.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi spoke very recently at the Inaugural Ceremony of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2017, and I can do no better than to refer to his speech (part of this supplement) to give you an understanding of where India stands as of January 2017.
I am deeply grateful to the management of the Nine O’Clock daily for bringing out this Special Supplement on the occasion of India’s 68th Republic Day celebrations.
With every best wish,
Dr. AVS Ramesh Chandra